Adam A500 Recovers From Gear Malfunction

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Adam Aircraft was conducting hot-weather testing of its A500 twin-prop at Fort Myers, Fla., on March 16 when the airplane experienced a left main gear retraction during landing rollout. There were no injuries and minimal damage to the aircraft's left wingtip and tail boom. The FAA OK'd the airplane to fly home to Colorado two days later. On Saturday, Adam said the cause of the retraction was a malfunction in test equipment that was installed on the aircraft to simulate excessive electrical loads. Adam noted that the incident demonstrated that the twin tail boom and high-strength carbon-fiber construction of the A500 prevented any damage to the engines or props. Adam Aircraft said it does not foresee any significant delay to certification as a result of this event. (Last October the company predicted the first customer delivery of an A500 before the end of December 2004, so it could be implied that certification is already behind schedule.) Since the equipment that caused the problem is not part of the production aircraft, no changes in the design will be necessary. The FAA has approved a repair plan and the damaged aircraft is expected to return to the flight-test program late next week. The company said it will continue to make progress on the seven remaining FAA reports still outstanding of the 242 reports required. Of those seven reports, testing has been completed on cabin smoke, engine cooling and fuel substantiation. Reports on these tests are awaiting FAA approval. Successful completion and approval of carbon monoxide, windshield defog, and functionality and reliability tests and reports are expected within a few weeks, and will conclude the remaining requirements for initial type certification, Adam said.